Personal Reflection from Heidi Winstead

100_3634.JPGThe time I spent in Guatemala was incredible! I saw God working in so many ways – in the work of the Shalom Foundation, in the hands of my fellow students, in the interactions and sharing of information between American and Guatemalan professionals at the hospital, and in the twinkle of hope in the eyes of the schoolchildren. I think that mission trips (and other service opportunities) are essential to spiritual growth. For me, these opportunities give me perspective, a chance to see “the big picture”, and let me glimpse reality a little more clearly. It is not those who are being served that come away from the experience the most changed; rather, it is the person that is serving, who has placed his life into God’s hands for Him to work through him, that comes away most affected. This trip has been no different. I feel such an awesome respect and gratefulness to our Creator for the blessings in my life which I see now so much more clearly.
I also experience the world differently, knowing that I have brothers and sisters in another country striving to serve the same Maker. I look for opportunities to serve Him where I am and not just on special occasions. I am much better at recognizing them now. I also was reminded how faithful God is to his people. Though I was worried about some parts of the trip, since I was away on rotation for most of the preparation, God had already planned a week better even than I could have imagined. It was a week filled with opportunities to help and to provide, both to therapists and patients alike. It was an opportunity to encourage the dedicated individuals working there day in and day out. It was a time to grow closer to a group of peers as we held out His light together, to draw encouragement from them. It was a time to look into my own life and examine my purpose and direction. A better “spring break” I could not have imagined!
[The most effective portions of our trip (in my opinion) were those spent teaching and educating the Guatemalan therapists, so hungry for information. In this way, I believe a lasting impact can be made, that will last much farther beyond the week-long interactions with the patients. Even though we are all “mid-schooling” with very little experience, our knowledge was more than sufficient to improve the quality of care in this setting. I truly hope that next year’s group will carry on with this effort and help provide more education to the therapists there, that they so desperately crave.]